An astronomer at California's SETI Institute and active supporter of the search for extraterrestrial life, Seth Shostak, doesn't believe that intelligent alien lifeforms will be discovered within next year. But, the expert discussed one possible method that could establish contact with extraterrestrial life.
Through today's technological advancements, scientists were already able to discover over 4,000 alien worlds or exoplanets. In addition, space agencies like NASA have been planning to launch future missions that aim to detect traces of alien life. However, for supporters of SETI, they believe it could take a long time before humans encounter signs of intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms.
Finding Alien Life in 2020
Although Shostak believes that alien life will be discovered someday, this most likely won't happen in the near future. Despite the recent achievements in space exploration, Shostak believes that agencies and scientific organizations will have to look beyond the Solar System to finally uncover the truth about the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence.
"Well, despite being the widely celebrated 100-year anniversary of the election of Warren G. Harding, 2020 will not likely gain fame as the year we first discover extraterrestrial life," astronomer Seth Shostak of California's SETI Institute told Space.com.
Method To Detect Alien Signals From Space
Since it is still technologically challenging to visit other star systems, Shostak believes that hunting for signals originating from alien worlds is a more feasible solution to detect the possible presence of otherworldly civilizations.
These signals can be tracked by special observatories such as the Allen Telescope Array in California, which is about to obtain new receivers for the SETI Institute. Through these new receivers, the organization is hoping to increase its efforts in detecting alien signals from space.
Chances Of Coming Across Alien Life
According to Shostak, monitoring alien signals from other star systems is related to the idea proposed by Frank Drake, an astronomer and one of the early supporters of SETI. Drake once said that humans plan to establish contact with alien civilizations, then they should be ready to expand their monitoring systems to cover the millions of planets and galaxies in space.
"One should remember that this type of search is gaining speed in an exponential fashion, and that particular technical fact allows a crude estimate of when SETI might pay off," Shostak said. If we take — for lack of a better estimate — Frank Drake's opinion that there might be 10,000 broadcasting societies in the Milky Way, then we clearly have to examine at least one [million] – 10 million stellar systems to have a reasonable chance of tripping across one," he added. "That goal will be reached in the next two decades, but certainly not in 2020."